— Al Baker in the New York Times, yesterday.
“One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”
— Thomas Friedman, September 9th, 2009.
“Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart.”
— Thomas Friedman, April 25, 2000, in a post titled “Reno for President.”
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The Times complains of Mr. Lauder that, “His vast holdings … are organized in a labyrinth of trusts, limited liability corporations and holding companies, some of which his lawyers acknowledge are intended for tax purposes.”
A recent proxy statement from the New York Times Company explained that in its own case: “In February 1990, on the death of Adolph S. Ochs’s daughter, Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger (‘Mrs. Sulzberger’), control passed to her four children through the automatic termination of a trust established by Mr. Ochs. That trust held 83.7% of the Class B stock of the Company, which is not publicly traded and the holders of which have the right to elect approximately 70% of the Board of Directors. Mrs. Sulzberger’s four children are: Marian S. Heiskell, Ruth S. Holmberg, Judith P. Sulzberger and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (the ‘grantors’). In 1997, the grantors executed an indenture (the ‘Trust Indenture’) creating a trust (the ‘1997 Trust’) for the benefit of each of the grantors and his or her family. The grantors transferred to the 1997 Trust all shares of Class B stock previously held by the trust established by Adolph S. Ochs, together with a number of shares of Class A stock. The 1997 Trust currently holds 738,810 shares of Class B stock and 1,400,000 shares of Class A stock … The 1997 Trust will continue in existence until the expiration of 21 years after the death of the last remaining survivor of all descendants of Mrs. Sulzberger living on December 14, 2000.”
The Times family has trusts, too, just like Ronald Lauder! It also has a limited liability company — Marujupu LLC, named for Marian, Ruth, Judith, and “Punch” Sulzberger.
The Times goes so far as to calculate that “after Estée Lauder died in 2004, she passed down nearly $4 billion to her heirs, according to tax experts who studied the case and estimated that the estate was taxed at an effective rate of 16 percent — about a third of the top estate tax rate at the time.” There’s no calculation offered by the Times of what the tax rate on Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger’s estate was.
The Times complains that Lauder’s television company “maintains an official headquarters in the tax haven of Bermuda, where it does not operate any stations.” The Times doesn’t mention that Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, of which longtime Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger was a longtime trustee, gets its insurance through captive insurance companies part-owned by the hospital that were incorporated in Bermuda and the Barbados (where Mount Sinai does not operate any hospitals) in 1982 and 1986.
The Times complains about Mr. Lauder’s charitable giving. But it makes no mention of the Sulzberger Foundation, Inc., a tax-exempt private foundation headquartered at the same address as the New York Times Company. The foundation’s latest tax return shows it with assets of $35 million and reports that it paid Marujupu LLC a $440,387 “management fee.”
“Owners of New York Times Used Tax Loopholes the Paper Scored Ambassador Lauder for Using”
— Ira Stoll of the New York Sun, November 28th, 2011.
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And if the Times is willing to devote space to crowdsourcing the Sarah Palin emails, it had no excuse for not doing the same with emails written by prominent scientists who help shape international environmental policy.
“NYT’s Revkin Denies Bias in ClimateGate Coverage”
— Alana Goodman, Commentary, 11/29/11.
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Finally, the Gray Lady’s schizophrenia in her dotage extends even to how she treats the commenters on her Website:
Yesterday, the Gray Lady proudly announced an ill-conceived, totally off-the-wall, and most importantly, profoundly anti-democratic change to its readers’ comments policy. Along with altering the appearance of the comments (a comment begins, but “Read More” shows up after only a few lines, requiring many clicks to read through all the comments), and finally introducing a thread where readers respond to one another (like we have here at Brainstorm), the Times is now dividing its commenters into two types. Are you ready, Brainstorm commenters—you who are privileged to post under a pseudonym and are free to say what you want (well, more or less—so long as you steer clear of threats or profanity)? Commenters at The New York Times will be divided into two classes: “Trusted Commenters”—(do you like that?) a status “offered by invitation only” to those whose comments, over time, the paper deems to be of high quality—and everybody else.
“The New York Times Loves Some Readers More Than Others”
— Laurie Fendrich, the Chronicle of Higher Education.